Tanker pilot identified after dying in crash while fighting Emmett wildfire

A tanker plane crashed Tuesday while fighting a bush fire near Emmett.
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 11:50 AM MDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2020 at 2:04 PM MDT
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EMMETT, Idaho (CBS2) — A tanker plane crashed Tuesday while fighting a bush fire near Emmett.

The tanker pilot was rushed to a hospital, but died later that night, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM identified the pilot Wednesday afternoon as Ricky Fulton. Fulton flew the T-857, which was owned by Aero SEAT Inc. and was on an on-call contract with the BLM Fire and Aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

Firefighters on the scene rendered medical aid to the pilot and called for Life Flight, but the pilot did not survive his injuries, the BLM said in a news release.

It's with deep sadness that we share the loss of a Single Engine Air Tanker pilot after a crash tonight working on the...

Posted by Bureau of Land Management Fire and Aviation on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the pilot lost in this tragic accident,” said acting Boise District Manager Tanya Thrift. “This reminds us of the inherent risks involved in wildland firefighting and the gratitude we owe to the courageous and committed men and women who serve willingly to protect lives, property and natural resources.”

Gov. Brad Little also released a statement on the pilot’s death.

“Tragically, a firefighter died when the single engine air tanker he was flying crashed during initial attack operations on the Schill Fire near Emmett Tuesday. Our hearts are heavy. The death of a firefighter is felt deeply and emotionally in the firefighting community. Pray for comfort for the pilot’s family and colleagues, and please do your part to prevent needless wildfires. I am ordering American flags and State of Idaho flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the brave firefighter who lost his life protecting others.”

Gov. Brad Little

BLM says the Schill Fire started about two miles southeast of Emmett near Pearl Road and reached about 25 acres. It is now contained.

No structures were threatened.

Multiple fire agencies responded including Idaho Department of Lands, Gem County, Meridian, Middleton, Star and Eagle resources. Fire crews are also attacking the fire from the air with two air tankers and a helicopter.

The cause is under investigation.

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